Event: Weald Park, Brentwood

Weald Park Kite

Having turned up here on a Sunday back in January, only to (later) realise that the event had been the previous day, I was determined to get back ot this promising looking country park for its next orienteering event. So last Wednesday I disappeared early from work to compete here in a local event.

Weald Park really is gorgeous to look at on a nice day (the evening sun shining through some of the ancient woodland was simply beautiful to behold) and I seriously believe that it would be able to host a World Park Race and show itself off in style. You could have the finish arena to end all finish arenas here. Sadly it’s a small area, and not technical, but ideal for a Blue colour coded course (5.7 km) which is what I did. Large parts of the park are gently rolling, short grassland, across which you can sprint like lightning.

Result: 47:08 for 5.7km, 125m climbing (8.3 mins/km.) I’m quite happy with this result, seeing as I hadn’t done any orienteering for six weeks before this.

Weald Park

Event: JK 2004, Graythwaite, The Lake District

JK Day 1 M21S 8-9Lake District maps are always full of technical and physical goodness, and Graythwaite – the area for the JK International event this Easter, was no exception. However the course planning for M21S was uninspired (especially on the first day, where we effectively visited all parts of the map except the really interesting section in the middle) and my bad knee played up badly after the first day, causing me to bail out mid-way through the second day. The long walk back to the finish was rather traumatic too. However the finish arena and assembly field was dramatic and beautiful and with the weather being nice too, it was great to laze around after the race.

I made some right stinkers/tools/technical mistakes on the first day – one was from 8 to 9 (see right.) For some reason I decided to contour, rather than go straight or drop down the slope to the east. There were many spurs and reentrants on the route which made this course painful, and I ended up a little lower than I thought. The 9th control was (I think) closer to the edge of the level area than the map appeared, and I eneded up running right past the control, just above it, at least three times (at one point, relocating right to the large fence/track junction beyond.)

In all, not a true classic like Bigland, but still an area to show off what the Lake District was all about.

JK Day 1 M21S End Section

WordPress and Yepsport

Yepsport is now on the WordPress CMS, having been on Movable Type up until now from when it was first started earlier this year. The key difference (other than the look) is that WordPress pages are generated on the fly for every view. WordPress also has a very active community right now, so expect lots of new and cool webloggy stuff to appear in the months ahead.

To celebrate, I’ll be posting a number of new articles in the next few days.

I think I’ve got everything just about right in the moving across process, but if you notice anything odd, or something that looks like it doesn’t work, please drop me an email at o.obrien (at) outlook.com.

My other weblog (Yablog) will be moved across shortly. NB. If you currently subscribe to Yesport’s RSS, XML or Atom feeds, you’ll need to change the link you use. Follow the links at the bottom of the panel on the right.

The Back is Back (and more)

As expected, I’ve bounced back very quickly from Monday’s low back injury, and was back at work today. I didn’t make the event tonight though. Assuming the pain continues to decrease, Sunday’s event is looking good.

My parents must be reading all three of my weblogs like every 10 minutes. I post to Yep Sport pretty infrequently, yet my dad still managed to snag my last story within hours of me posting it. I wonder if he’s discovered aggregation? My mum’s already put a book in the post…

Man it’s hot here in London! It’s going to be an uncomfortable summer in the flat if it continues like this. I think I prefer Edinburgh’s climate.

Good to see BOF has got rid of (or at least reduced the prominence of) pictures of little kids pottering around string courses in parks, and replaced the front page photos with those of some real atheletes in action. Orienteering is Sport for All, but it’s the champions that should be on the front page of a national federation’s website. Now if only they could actually get around to finishing the website… And why oh why don’t they just use a weblog – looks 10 times better, for 10% of the effort.

Oh No Not Again

Well so much for my grand plan for orienteering between now and July.

I was on my way to work on Monday morning when something distinctly snapped in my lower back, and I’ve essentially spend the intervening time in bed, in agony. Acute Low Back Pain (ALBP) is a very common ailment amongst people of my age, apparently – in my case I seem to suffer from it every half a year or so – and for me it is extremely painful – I have been unable to get to sleep for the last 24 hours*. However it has generally cleared up in 2-3 days, and I don’t notice anything after that (until the next time around…) However it puts paid to tonight’s event and possibly Sunday’s too. Reading around, the best cure for ALBP is surprisingly to be active as possible and in fact it’s only by walking that I’m not in any pain. “Keeping your normal routine” is advice I’ve frequently seen and while that was not possible today (without a lot of screaming, I would imagine) I’m going to try my best for the coming days.

Factor in the pectoral muscle strain I had in December, and my runner’s knee recurring in both February and April, and it really hasn’t been the best of seasons for me. However my most recent ailment was probably compounded by the lack of exercise, rather that too much of it – and my sitting desk job can’t be helping. So I’m hoping to bounce back and at least get something out of this season: warm weather training if nothing else (it’s currently 25C in London!)

* I’m really trying to keep to a policy of not taking painkillers unless I absolutely have to, last night was the closest I’ve ever come to giving in.

The Plan Ahead

[Updated 23 May] Well, my own season has been effectively decimated by my recurring injury problems from February onwards, however I’m now in a position to start attending some events for the season’s tail end. The UK orienteering season often winds up with smaller events and summer evening series – the kind of event ideal for me in my “unfit but willing” state!

My plan is:

  • Tuesday 18th May – SLOW Local Score Event, Beddington Park, South London (maybe.) (Bad back.)
  • Sunday 23rd May – TVOC District Event, Coombe Hill, Wendover. A physical, hilly area, this should wake me up with a start. (Slept in!)
  • Wednesday 2nd June – HAVOC Local Summer Evening Event, Epping South West, Chingford. Epping is always delightful at any time of the year, plus it’s within London so nice and close to get to.
  • Sunday 6th June – TVOC District Event, Great Hampden, Princes Risborough, OR MV Local Event, The Nower, Dorking.
  • Wednesday 9th June – TVOC Summer Series Local Event, Black Park, Slough.
  • Sunday 13th June – BADO District Event & SCOA League, Chawton Park & Bushy Leaze Wood, Alton, OR SAX District Event, Brede, Hastings.
  • Wednesday 16th June – CHIG Local Event, Latton Woods.
  • Sunday 20th June – HAVOC Try O, Thorndon Country Park (North), Brentwood.
  • Sunday 27th June – HAVOC Frolic Event, Epping SW/Pole Hill, Chingford.
  • Sunday 4th July – LOK Local Frolic Event, Trent Park, North London.
  • Wedesday 14th July – HAVOC Summer Evening Event, Bedfords Park, Romford.
  • Saturday 17th – 24th July – O-Ringen, Gothemburg, Sweden. I really hope I’m in shape by this time!

Nominative Determinism alive and well in Orienteering

Surnames of orienteers that sound like orienteering control descriptions:

Andrew Middleditch (SHUOC)
Simon Greenwood (SAX)
Nigel Bush (MV)
Ian Ditchfield (MV)
Andy, Elizabeth and Judy Bridge (SO)
Richard Field (SAX)
Neil Brooks (LOK)
Terry Marsh (SLOW)

Paul Street (SLOW)
Jonathan Street (HH)
Joe and Carol House (SO)
Pippa Whitehouse (SO)
David Funnell (SO)
Phil Marsland (SLOW)

More on Nominative Determinism.

Event: Longmoor, Haslemere

British Student Championships (BUSA) 2004, organised by OUOC – Individual Race, 6th March 2004.

BUSA Longmoor ExtractSometime last I was actually planning to plan this (no pun intended) race but as events transpired OUOC chose Luke M to plan the event, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to run at least part of his excellent course. I started the race aware of my knee injury from the previous week, but any thought that I could ignore the injury soon
evaporated after the fourth control, and I had to retire from the event, in considerable pain. It was doubly frustrating because Longmoor is a superb area – fast and open, but with enough contour detail to slow down the best from Edinburgh and Sheffield. What I saw was great, and I could have run a great run, but it was not to be this year.

The area is a military training area, which always makes an event more interesting – out of bounds really means out of bounds on these maps, unless you want to step on an unexploded bomb. The army was also carrying out
riot control drills, which made control 7 a rather interesting control to visit. A smell of fuel was in the area, the gorse was burnt, and it took only a few seconds to realise that the shiny objects on the ground were – petrol bombs.

BUSA Longmoor Extract 2The map extract above shows the intricate bit I didn’t get near to before retiring. The numerous tracks are tank tracks and as such not trival to cross! The extract to the left is simply here for posterity, to note the damn marsh that nearly everyone on the Men’s A course fell into, including several of the elites. I
heard plenty of people swearing about this one afterwards… It’s the blue line just above Control 3 – it’s actually a lot bigger a marsh than is indicated on the map.

Anyway well done to OUOC (my old club) for organising the event professionally and slickly. I was one of the proponents at the club AGM that we should go ahead and organise, and it was great to see the project come to fruition and have familiar faces behind one of UK orienteering’s premier events, even if I was just a competitor at the end of it, and an injured one at that.

Welcome to Yep Sport

I’ve launched this site today – most of the previous entries you see here are copied from my main weblog. My orienteering articles will all appear here going forward, as I look to split out the O content and increase my output.

The name is of course a play on “Nope Sport“, launched late last year by some Edinburgh students, which has with surprising speed become the place for the younger orienteering population of the UK to gossip, post and vent. After many doomed attempts to start up boards on various UK O websites (such as the BOF one) it’s great to see the nopesport forum take on a life of its own. And crucially for an O-website, and something most other O-web designers seem to have overlooked… it looks good. Damn good.

Anyway I hope they don’t mind me being inspired by their name!

I’m aiming for this site to be an events and training diary. Now, those who know me know also that I do diddly squat in the way of exercise. Hopefully having this website will encourage me to go do some this season. All I need to
do now is convalesce!

Injury Worries

My knee injury, which happened this time last year after I plunged my foot down a rabbit role while racing in a National, has recurred. The timing is unfortunate, as I’ve really come into fitness in the last few weeks, and seen my speed steadily increase. My injuries however always seem to happen after periods of relatively intense activity.

Unfortuantely I aggravated the injury further by attempting to run in the British Student Champs last week (more to follow on that.) The pain got too much after running down a bank and I had to bail out of a race I’d been looking forward to for several months. Even walking back to the start was exceedingly painful. Orienteering’s premier season really kicks off in a couple of weeks, so the timing just couldn’t have been worse.

Anyway I didn’t do any orienteering this weekend (I missed a club league event at Esher) and I’ve taken the last few days extremely lightly. I’m just hoping I’ll be able to run in the JK (Britain’s biggest event this year) over Easter. My form will have completely gone with no exercise in the build up, but that’s less important as long as I can actually make it into the forest!

C’est la vie.